Seven baseball teams march on in state playoffs
Four baseball teams from the Mountain Valley 1A/2A Conference and three more from the Northwest 1A/2A survived the opening round of the state playoffs Friday.
The seven victories produced a number of compelling storylines, from blowout wins (Wilkes Central), to thrilling comebacks (Elkin) to one extra-innings marathon (Surry Central). Here are scores and highlights, plus a schedule of second-round match-ups:
Class 1A Playoffs
Elkin 10, Albemarle 6
The Buckin’ Elks scored seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to overcome a 6-3 deficit and advance in the 1A tournament. Hayden Snow (2-for-3, 2 RBIs), Frank Miller (2-for-4, RBI), Calvin Yarboro (1-for-4, 3 RBIs), Daniel BRinegar (1-for-3, RBI) and Seth Haynes (1-for-1, 2 RBIs) all had productive nights at the plate.
Miller, Snow and Ben Osborne each hit doubles. Snow came on in relief of Jamey Cranford to pick up the pitching win, striking out five and not allowing a hit in 3.2 innings of work.
Elkin (9-12) advances to play South Stanly (22-4) in the second round. South Stanly is the top seed from the Yadkin Valley Conference.
North Wilkes 10, Cherryville 6
The wildcard Vikings knocked off the top seed from the Southern Piedmont Conference, erupting for 13 hits. Eight of North’s nine starters earned at least one base hit.
Austin Owens went 3-for-5, hit a double and scored twice. Jared Story, LJ Hendren and Logan Johnson had two hits apiece.
North Wilkes scored two runs in the top of the first, then exploded for six more in the second inning. At one point, the Vikings led 10-1. Cherryville rallied in the late innings but couldn’t come all the way back. Tyler Hall picked up the pitching win for North, which will face Swain (16-6) in round two. Swain is the No. 3 seed from the Big Smoky Mountain Conference.
South Stokes 7, Alleghany 1:
Jamison Nagle finished 3-for-4, hitting a two-run homer in the third inning, to lead the Sauras.
South Stokes pulled away with a five-run fourth inning. The explosive inning included RBI singles by Mitchell Edwards and Jonathan Montgomery. Andrew Martin hit a double in the fourth and scored a run.
Alleghany plated its only run in the sixth. The Trojans were kept off balance much of the night by South Stokes pitchers Martin and Jordan Carter. Martin allowed three hits and struck out seven over the first 5.1 innings. Carter came on in relief, fanning all four batters he faced – getting the last one to look at the third strike. Carter threw 17 pitches, and 12 went for strikes.
South Stokes’ victory sets up an intriguing Northwest vs. Mountain Valley showdown for round two. The Sauras will visit West Wilkes.
West Wilkes 7, Lincoln Charter 4
The Blackhawks scored six runs in the fourth inning, then repelled several threats by Lincoln Charter over the last three frames.
Preston Millsaps hit two home runs for West Wilkes.
East Surry 4, Chatham Central 1:
Read our game story from this contest HERE. Jordan Miller earned a complete game victory from the mound for the Cardinals.
West Montgomery 10, Mount Airy 0:
The Granite Bears’ season ends at 9-11. West Montgomery (17-5) moves on to face either Central Academy or North Rowan in round two.
Class 2A Baseball
Surry Central 5, Wheatmore 2
After 11 scoreless innings, someone finally blinked. Surry Central took advantage of multiple Wheatmore errors in the top of the 12th to plate five runs. Wheatmore scored twice in the bottom of the 12th and brought the tying run to the plate with two outs.
But Ethan Wilmoth worked out of the jam, striking out the last batter of the game. Wilmoth picked up the win, throwing three innings of relief. He struck out seven, walked three and allowed two hits.
Hunter Smith threw nine scoreless innings for the Golden Eagles, striking out 12 against five walks and two hits.
Wheatmore pitcher Chase Sauders threw 11 scoreless innings before coming out.
This was the second year in a row that Surry Central played a marathon opening round game. The Eagles went to 14 innings in 2011 before falling to East Davidson.
Surry Central (14-13) will travel to West Davidson (18-9) for a second-round game. West Davidson beat Forest Hills 5-2 to advance.
Wilkes Central 10, Carver 0: The Mountain Valley 1A/2A regular season champions had little problems in the opening round. Wilkes Central improved to 24-3 overall.
Central had been aiming at a second-round match-up at West Stokes. But Bandys upset West Stokes 7-0 on Friday night, so Wilkes Central will host Bandys in the next round. Bandys is the No. 4 seed from the Catawba Valley Conference.
Maiden 3, Starmount 2
The Rams, who had beaten Wilkes Central in the conference tournament championship game to improve their playoff seeding, lost in heartbreaking fashion Friday night.
Maiden’s Luke Setzer – the No. 9 hitter in the order – hit an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to send the Blue Devils to the win and into the next round of the 2A tournament.
Starmount led 2-0 after a solo homer from Dillon Dobson and an RBI hit by Chase Thompson. But the Rams left 10 base runners stranded and committed multiple errors in the field.
Maiden prevailed despite stranding a dozen runners and leaving the bases loaded twice. Starmount’s season ends at 18-8.
Randleman 9, Forbush 2
The defending 2A state champions knocked the Falcons out of the 2A dance. Forbush sees its season end at 17-7. Randleman improved to 24-3.
Bandys 7, West Stokes 0
The game was a barn-burner for awhile, with Bandys holding a 1-0 lead after five complete. Bandys broke it open with a five-run sixth inning. West Stokes managed just three hits in the game against pitcher Hunter Harvey, who struck out 16.